So the 2013-2104 season has come to an end. I love training and racing, so I always find it sad when the season finishes, and it becomes 7-8 months until I will be racing again. However, it’s also nice to have a break and relax as it’s been a long, hard season.
With coaches we always have a look back on the season, to make sure next season is better, so I thought I’d do a little season review blog too. I’ve put some of my favourite photos in too. Sorry, some of them have already been in my blog already this winter!
Best race of the season
It’s got to be between two:
5km classic time trial at the Swiss Champs. It is an amazing feeling to have a race where everything seems to come together and go perfectly. I felt strong, I felt relaxed and I had really good skis. This resulted in me coming 2nd, and also scoring my best points to date. It’s impossible not to be happy standing on a podium!
10km classic mass start at the Continental Cup in St Ulrich, Austria. I’ve raced in St Ulrich several times before, and this was definitely the best. I managed to avoid any trouble in the mass start, and felt really strong. I spent the entire race skiing with people ranked much higher than me, and wasn’t out of place. It was also fun to have my parents and my sister there cheering!
Saalfelden, Austria. Although I felt amazing skiing, I would definitely class this as my worst race of the season as I fell over. The vast majority of cross country skiers do fall from time to time whilst racing, especially when you’re really pushing yourself, and when the conditions aren’t ideal. Although I don’t fall that often, I find dealing with it hard, as it leaves me questioning what could the outcome have been if I’d actually managed to stay on my feet. Especially in a race like this when I felt really strong.
Most amazing experience
Racing in the World Cup in Holmenkollen, Oslo. The track was lined with tens of thousands of people, and there were hundreds of people cheering my name (but not my Dad, who was there watching, as he’d already lost his voice!). After 30km I was exhausted, but I didn’t realise quite how much until I stopped, as the crowds seemed to help me not notice it!
Not qualifying for the Olympics, but getting so so close. I knew it was going to be hard to qualify, and that I was going to have to ski better than I ever had before, but I really believed I could do it. It was so frustrating to get to within seconds of qualifying, and I have to admit I’ve spent a lot of time lying awake in bed since wondering where I could have got those extra seconds.
Improvement I’m most pleased with
Classic skiing has always been my strong point, but this season I’ve had by far my best skate races ever. I’ve been working hard on my balance, knee stability and body position, and really feel it’s paid off. My skate skiing still isn’t as consistent as I’d like it to be, but after several really strong skate races this season I know I can do it!
Thing I wish I could change
(Apart from the obvious… qualifying for the olympics)
In the days building up to races, during my warm ups and during the races I tried not to think about Olympic qualification, and think I was good at not focusing on it, and I didn’t really worry about it or let it get to me. I just knew I had to focus on my racing, and go out and ski as fast as I could. However, after the races, I kept just comparing my results to the qualification standard, and was really critical of myself. As a result, I ended up not enjoying some really strong results at the start of the season, and looking back I really should have done.
I think it has to be opening presents on Christmas day morning. Due to most of the team (including me) being very last minute, and the boys having an interesting sense of imagination with presents, there were some very unusual and funny presents (and wrapping techniques) on show on Christmas day morning.
Focus for next season
My main focus for next season is the World Championships in Falun, Sweden.
Where I’d recommend to go and ski
My favourite place that I’ve trained and raced this season, and would recommend people to go and cross country ski, is Toblach, Italy. The Dolomite mountains are stunning, and there are so many nice tracks to ski on.
I just want to end this blog by saying thank you to everyone who has supported me this season. There are so many volunteers, coaches, wax technicians, physios, donors and sponsors… that do an amazing job making the British Cross Country Ski team run, but don’t often receive as much acknowledgement as they deserve. Thank you for all your hard work!
Also thank you so much to all my friends and family for all your support too, I really appreciate it, and I know I wouldn’t have been able to ski as fast and have as much fun without you!